The creators of South Park are behaving in a more pro-freedom way than the entire NBA.
Who would have thought that it would be the sophomoric South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker who would be the ones to unapologetically stand against the oppressive communist regime in China?
Actually, it isn’t that surprising. They don’t ever apologize.
Last Wednesday South Park got in hot water with China over an episode that was critical of the communist regime. The episode was titled, “Band In China” and dealt with the oppressive censorship in China and the way that Hollywood elites (and the NBA, apparently,) turn a blind eye to it in order to make money in a huge market. The Chinese government clamped down on the episode mocking Chinese censorship by… you guessed it… censoring the episode.
China routinely bans, adds to, and removes portions of movies that they don’t like. For example, Iron Man 3 had 4 extra minutes added in order to highlight some Chinese actors and put in a drink product placement. The movie Christopher Robin was banned because memes criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping were comparing him to Winnie the Pooh. Earlier this year, China cut out all references to Freddy Mercury’s sexuality in the biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. More recently, the new Top Gun movie, Maverick, changed the patches on Maverick’s jacket to appease the Chinese government.
Parker and Stone likely saw the backlash coming and just as likely didn’t care. They decided to push as many anti-Chinese-authoritarian jokes into the episode as possible.
- Use Winnie the Pooh to mock Xi Jinping? Check.
- Rail against Chinese censorship? Check.
- Highlight forced-labor camps and inhumane conditions in prisons? Check.
- Mock Hollywood for kowtowing to Chinese government demands? Check.
- Promote the ideal of freedom of speech and conscience? Check.
In an almost presentient clip, one character is on a plane to China to promote his farm when a group of NBA players also boards in order to do “some press with the players and trying to get more Chinese viewers.”
Prominently featured is Houston Rockets Point Guard, James Harden, who is walking the NBA line with support for the Chinese autocratic regime after Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s “controversial” tweet supporting… democracy.
Watch Harden have no problem with apologizing to China for a tweet by the GM.
"We apologize. We love China," Houston Rockets' James Harden @JHarden13 apologized to China over a tweet by the team's general manager Daryl Morey @dmorey backing Hong Kong's protests. #HongKongProtests #NBA pic.twitter.com/Z43V9EpFkD
— SHINE (@shanghaidaily) October 7, 2019
Slate is reporting that the NBA isn’t just caving to Chinese censorship, they are putting a veneer of legitimacy by their very presence in an area of China with the most heinous examples of human rights abuse.
The NBA is running a training center in Xinjiang which is where the Chinese government also runs concentration camps for Muslims suffering from “wrongthink” — and that’s literally what they’re calling it. This is the very heart of the repression and discrimination of the Uighurs — some even go so far as to call it genocide.
In the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, Chinese authorities are holding roughly a million Muslims in what government propaganda creepily calls “free hospital treatment for the masses with sick thinking”—in other words, concentration camps. Because of the difficulties of visiting the camps, and because Beijing downplays their existence, firsthand information is sparse. However, satellite photos, innovative research on government procurement bids, and excellent reporting by foreign journalists prove their existence. Some inmates are tortured. Others are forced to sit for hours singing songs praising the ruling Chinese Communist Party…
…Doing business in an authoritarian country like China inevitably presents ethical and political dilemmas, as several tech giants and airlines have recently learned. But doing business right in the midst of a campaign that some human rights groups have described as genocide is another thing entirely—and most U.S. companies have unsurprisingly given Xinjiang a wide berth. Yet one of the exceptions is striking: the National Basketball Association. In Oct. 2016, the NBA set up one of its three Chinese training centers in, of all places, Ürümqi, the capital of Xinjiang and site of massive race riots in 2009 that left hundreds dead. The center, which houses roughly 240 student-athletes ages 14 to 18, according to its website, has kept a very low profile. That’s unsurprising—because the NBA presence in Xinjiang is shameful.
The Slate article points out that NBA stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are quick to condemn racism in the United States — but they’re not saying anything about the racism against the Uighurs who must scan their IDs in order to shop and face longer lines than their Han Chinese neighbors.
South Park called it.
You gotta lower your ideals of freedom if you wanna suck on the warm teat of China. #southpark23
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019
In the wake of the NBA apology, Parker and Stone issued their own “Official Apology to China” with a link to the episode in question.
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019
The apology reads, “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now, China?”
— Internet Janitor (@MaxwelPaul) October 8, 2019
Remember, Parker and Stone are the same guys that wrote this:
Standing up to Chinese censorship?
That’s about as American as you can get.